Being physically active is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Unfortunately, we are so busy with work and everyday life that it is difficult to find the time to be active until retirement. Many Americans working in sedentary jobs have few chances to become more active. Retirees certainly have a lot more spare time, but many people simply continue with their habitual sedentary activities. It's great to relax, read, watch movies, and browse the Internet, but all those passive activities need to be balanced out by physical activities. Here are some ways to keep active in retirement:
Transportation. When we are working full time, we are always in a hurry because we don't have enough time to do everything on our list. That's one reason we tend to drive everywhere. In retirement, we can take the time to walk or bike to the store instead of driving. This is a great way to get your blood flowing and accomplish your errands at the same time. Walking or biking can be easy or difficult depending on where you live, but many people can fit it into their routine if they are willing to expend a little time and effort.
Family time. If you are lucky enough to have a small child or grandchild in your family, you can schedule time to take them to nearby parks and other outdoor activities. It's a lot of work to keep up with small children, and you'll work up a sweat in no time. Now that summer is here, there are many outdoor activities you can enjoy with family and friends, many of them for free. Kayaking and canoeing are great, low impact ways to spend your summer days. Check with your local parks and recreation department to see what kind of activities they offer.
Sports. Retirement is a great time to take up sports again. If you like group sports, look into a local basketball or volleyball league. Lower impact activities can include golf, bocce, swimming, and hiking. Classes such as yoga and Tai Chi are easy to learn and also very easy on the joints.
Gardening. Gardening is a great way to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and burn off a few calories. You might discover your long-lost green thumb and reap a bounty from the garden this season. Organic produce is very expensive at the grocery store, but you can grow something yourself if you have the time. When I was working full time, I hated to spend a lot of time in the garden, mostly due to a lack of time. When you work five days a week, you don't want to spend every weekend pulling weeds. However, with more free time, gardening can be a fulfilling way to spend spare time.
Housework. Let's face it, who likes to do housework? Chores are a pain, but they need to be done. These chores can help burn off excess calories. Vacuuming, washing dishes, cleaning windows, and other household chores will keep you moving. It's much better to move around than watch TV from the couch.
These activities are just a few things we can do to stay physically active in retirement without paying for a gym membership. It's not an easy change to go from a sedentary to a more active lifestyle. However, we need to increase our physical activity level in retirement if we want to enjoy it for a long time.
Joe Udo is planning an exit strategy from his corporate job by reducing expenses and increasing passive income. He blogs about his journey to early retirement at Retire by 40.